Can't let go of 15 years of hard work, says hat-trick hero Deepak Chahar

Deepak Chahar's six-wicket haul against Bangladesh in the third T20I in Nagpur on Sunday, has once again brought the focus back on him.

Deepak Chahar celebrates after picking a hat-trick against Bangladesh in the final T20 in Nagpur.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

It’s been nine years since Deepak Chahar broke into the domestic circuit with an eight-wicket innings haul that helped Rajasthan skittle out Hyderabad for 21. All of 18 then, the young gun scalped 40 wickets in his debut first-class season in 2010-11.

Many in the cricketing circles thought that it was just a matter of time for the youngster to make it to the Indian team.

But a bout of injuries saw Chahar slowly drifting away from the scheme of things.

However, with hard work and determination, Chahar not only managed to revive his career, but also relieved his dream of playing for India.

The 27-year-old pacer has so far played in seven T20Is and a lone ODI for India, but his six-wicket haul against Bangladesh in the third T20I in Nagpur on Sunday, has once again brought the focus back on him.

On Tuesday, he followed up with a four-wicket haul for Rajasthan in a Syed Mushtaq Ali T20 fixture against Vidarbha. Even though Rajasthan suffered a narrow one-run defeat, Chahar is happy to have played his part well.

The pacer spoke to Sportstar on Tuesday evening, on his performance against Bangladesh, his journey so far and more.

The last few days have been like a fairytale for you. How do you see it?

I am really happy with my efforts. I have worked hard day in and day out and with god’s blessings, I have been able to come so far. There have been times when I was not getting results despite hard work, but I kept believing in myself and by god’s grace, I could overcome every situation. There were days when I did not know what to do, but in every difficult situation, I have been able to keep calm and deliver my best. That has worked for me. My faith in god has grown over the years.

Your domestic career has been marred by injuries, and yet you are among the most sought after pacers. How would you describe your journey?

That was a tough phase but I could overcome the odds. And as far as T20Is are concerned, they are always challenging. There is very little for the bowlers. The white-ball cricket is mostly about batsmen, so it is definitely a big task to fare well in those situations.

To deliver the goods, your skills are very important. I could swing the new ball. I needed to develop my skills to reap benefits from the old ball and I think, I learned a lot of it during the last IPL. That was the best thing to have happened to me.

Why do you say that?

I knew that we had to play seven matches in Chennai, and it was obvious that I had to bowl a lot of slowers. So, I adjusted accordingly. Before that, I had learned the art of delivering knuckle balls. I practiced a lot because I knew that I would need to bowl at least three overs in Powerplays, and there, yorkers would come handy.

So, at the nets, I tried to master the art of bowling yorkers and that boosted my confidence. For a bowler, it is a very satisfying feeling to bowl yorkers, because in T20Is, you are bound to concede a few boundaries in an over. And in those times, you need a yorker to put the pressure back on the batsmen. Working on my yorkers, during the stint with Chennai Super Kings, has helped me immensely.

The third T20I could have swung Bangladesh’s way, but your one over changed the entire script...

Yes, I took six wickets in that match, but for me the best thing happened before the match. I went to meet our captain Rohit Sharma to discuss a few things, and he told me that, “You are not going to bowl with the new ball today. I will use you as (Jasprit) Bumrah.”

For me, those words were really motivating. For a young bowler like me, who has played only six international games, it is a matter of pride that your captain has so much trust in you. It was a great opportunity to bowl with the old ball and I am happy that I could justify his faith in me. I am really happy about it.

Hours of practice at the nets helped Deepak Chahar master his craft of bowling in pressure situations.   -  PTI

 

You joined the Rajasthan team for the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy shortly after your match-winning performance in the third T20I in Nagpur and even claimed four wickets against Vidarbha. What kept you going?

It’s always good to come back to your state team and help the side in an important tournament. Unfortunately, we did not win the match today, due to some poor shot selection by our batsmen -- including me. I knew I would play this match because Rajasthan has given me a lot and it is my duty to help the team whenever it is required. I will always come back to play for Rajasthan and since I have been part of the side for really long, my presence also helps the team in terms of flexibility in batting and bowling orders.

With so many top bowlers in the side, how challenging does it get for a young bowler to cement his place in the Indian team?

India now has the top fast-bowling attack -- something not many could think of in the past. In this situation, getting a place in the team is difficult. To sustain, you have to perform in every game and you cannot afford to take any game lightly. I treat every game as my last game and that helps to stay focused and motivated.

I have worked hard for 15 years to come so far, and I won’t let it go easily. I will continue to give my best and would definitely not rest on my laurels. I will give my 100 per cent in each and every game I play.